Located on the foot of Xiao Tang Hill in Chang Ping County, China Aviation Museum is only 40 kilometers north of the city of Beijing. The grand opening of this museum on the 11th of November in 1989 was scheduled to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
A section of the museum is located inside a cave at Datangshan Mountain, which used to be a part of the tunnel system of Shahe Airbase, a military base used by People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
Things to do
China Aviation Museum is divided into three main sections: the tunnel section which was mentioned above, the flight lane open air section and the rest outdoors area. In total the museum houses more than 200 airplanes of 100 different types along with helicopters, ground-air missiles, radars, plane bombs and more items related with military air forces. The collection is mostly dedicated to military planes but the visitor has also a chance to view a few civil aircrafts such as Soviet Ilyushin II-18 and American Douglas DC-8.
The tunnel section bears an exhibit of around fifty aircrafts. Most planes were used in the Second World War or the period just after. The collection includes mostly Chinese and Soviet aircrafts, but also a few Japanese ones, which were shaken down during the war. Five MIG-15s that belonged to the North Korean air force and were used during the Korean War are on display as well. Some of the Chinese F-2 and F-5 aircrafts exhibited here are marked with MIG-kills (marks that show that an aircraft has shot down an enemy aircraft during a war) for shooting down American and South Korean aircrafts during the Korean War.
On the other side of this section the visitor can see a few western planes like a US Army UH-1H, shot down by the Vietnamese during Vietnam War and an Italian F-104S that was donated to the museum by the Italian government in 2001. A Pakistani Sabre and an Apache helicopter are also on display in this room.
The flight lane section is an open air section set on a taxiway, which carries an exhibition of nineteen fighters including a MIG-15 from North Korea and various Chinese models. This section is a great place to take pictures as, in opposition to the poorly lighten tunnel section, aircrafts are displayed on open air, with enough space between one another to allow you choose the perfect angle.
Finally, in the rest of the outdoors area the visitor will find larger aircrafts and helicopters, along with some more fighters. A TU-16 bomber exhibited here is still in use by the Chinese Forces. A small lake was created in this section to show off a Be-12 flying boat.